NEW YORK (AP) — That soda on a summer afternoon is about to get more expensive: Coca-Cola Co.'s two big bottlers both plan to raise prices starting next month.
The trade publication Beverage Digest, which first reported the price increases, cites letters that the bottlers sent to retail customers. Both bottlers blame the rising costs of materials like aluminum, plastic, corn and oil, which they need to make and transport their products.
Coca-Cola Consolidated said in its letter that it will raise prices 3 to 5 percent in early July. Coca-Cola Refreshments said it will raise prices by 3 to 4 percent on July 31.
Coca-Cola Refreshments added that by the end of the year, customers will be paying 5 or 6 percent more compared to the year before. That estimate appears to include a 2 percent increase the bottler already took this year, Beverage Digest said.
A spokesman for Coca-Cola Refreshments, which is owned by the Coca-Cola Co., confirmed the price increases on Friday. He noted that the bottler has been saying for several months that it will raise prices, and said that the recent letter to retailers was meant to specify the July 31 date.
The higher prices surely won't be met with enthusiasm from customers, who are already feeling pinched by higher prices for gas and groceries. Since the spring, just as the recession started to recede into the rear-view mirror, customers have been facing higher prices for diapers, paper towels, clothing and myriad other products.
The companies note they are paying more for their materials and say they have no choice but to pass those cost increases.